just another ordinary day...

just another ordinary day at the f&f studio...

1. despite of the inhospitable environment of the kitchen table, our neglected yam started to sprout! look how much the leaves look like little webbed froggy toes!!

2. our cat novi is making friends with the avocado plant.

3. Our new kettle disapproves. (see it's face?)

hope you are having a wonderful start into the busy month of december!!

don't forget to come see me at portobello west dec 13&14!! i'll be sharing a booth with the kulus designs!! she has an AMAZING dress that's #2 on my xmas wishlist!! (2nd only to a husky puppy).


flora&fauna in Granville Sustainable City Living Magazine!!

check out the little article about flora&fauna in Granville Sustainable City Living Magazine! get your copy at Capers, Whole Foods, and MEC!

critter care christmas fundraiser!!

hey! don't forget about critter care's christmas fundraiser, where you will find exclusive squirrel themed pieces from our holiday collection in the silent auction!! hope to see you there! ^_^

cima coppi

this is so awesome: recycled wool cycling hats, and they can making it out of your old wool clothes too! I can't think of a better way for turn boring office clothes into awesomely stylish cycling clothes!

i love love LOVE these awesome vancouver designers!! cima coppi!!

new website = happy as a kitten

our new website is up! YAY! thanks to the hard work of michael at clifford-design who is, apparently, amazing at everything!

check it out at floraandfauna.ca and sign up for our newletter too while you are there.


BCIT success profile

i was really surprised last week, when Sim at BCIT told me they were going to profile flora&fauna for one of the school of business success stories. i looked at all the other businesses that has been profiled on there previously, and all of their achievements, i was truly humbled. with help and support from everyone at the BEST program (advisors, instructors, mentors, classmates), and my tireless helpers, i was able to complete both the holiday 2008 and spring-summer 2009 collections with no compromises, in the short 5 months of flora&fauna's operations. i can't thank everyone enough, and will continue to work super hard ^_^

here's a link:
BCIT success stories

office nuts and rainbow!

hey! I started growing (another) avocado nut. this one is for my sunny office ^_^

see the roots? and the tiny sprout coming out of the top? there are 3 teeny-weeny leaves on it!

this is the sunny window ledge where it lives ^_^ along with other nuts - acorns i kidnapped from our street... which was used for reference for the awesome screen prints on 2 of the holiday styles!! see them at the portobello west show on Dec 13&14!!

AND, if you look closely, you can see the rainbow!!

still no dog...


all this talk of economical recession is getting me down. i guess it means we won't be getting a new doggie for xmas...

autumn is...

autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year. i love the way the air feels, and how everything smells, and especially how the cats' coats start to get thicker and they look so cute, puffy, and extra snuggly!!

autumn is a time of transition. and despite of the appearance of 'closing down' in preparation for the winter - with the trees letting go of their leaves, flowerless stems bowing in acceptance of their return to the earth - it's a time for us to focus our energy inwards. reflect. revere. heal.

i took a break from the regular flora and fauna routine yesterday, and spent the day crafting a simple meal carefully garnished with loving thoughts and good vibrations, for a few friends and family. took time to eat slowly, listen deeply, happily dwelling in that moment.

back to work at full speed today, and feeling pretty good! i am wrapping up the holiday production, and starting on design for the fall/winter 2009 season. meticulously researching charities and material sources, to mindfully design the perfect pieces! it'll be flora&fauna's second season. i have learned a lot about the business world in the first season (and i have to admit most of the learning was done the hard way), and am looking forward to applying my new knowledge, but also prepared to continue learning... and stubbornly not losing sight of the true purpose of flora&fauna - which, you should know, is flora and fauna.

hope you too have found that things you love that makes you feel like everyday is too short.

note: photo above is my dad's from a fall hiking trip at Spencer Gorge and Webster's Fall in Hamilton, Ontario.

jus buggin'

tonight, we had a special visitor who has decided that she will stay with us overnight on the drafting table, and continue her journey when the rain stops...

beautiful, yes?

btw, i have just added the comments feature to this blog. feel free to leave me a message! i'd love to hear from ya!

other people's blogs are often worth mentioning...

other people's blogs are often worth mentioning, especially if they blogged about flora&fauna!! heehee... check it out: http://happyfrog.ca/christys/blog/sustainability-festival-sfu

why patterns never get done...

why my patterns never seem to get done:

1. doodling (i should mention this happens ON the patterns sometimes, then i have to either erase them or retrace the patterns, because i don't want my pattern grader to think i'm stupid.):

2. this cat keeps coming into the studio, and asking me questions that i don't know the answer to. and then he gives me the stink-eye...:

last week...

WOW, last week as a crazy week! we launched our spring/summer 2009 line at the SFU eco-fashion show, we were one Breakfast Television (aired last wednesday), we had an interview with Shaw TV (aired last friday), and we had an interview with Granville Sustainable City Living magazine!! sign up for a free subscription here, and be the first to see f&f immortalized in print forever! LOL...

Here are some photos from the the runway show!!

with all this fun stuff going on, i am now further behind with my holiday designs than ever, and might have to cut a few of the styles from the holiday 2008 collection! T_T sigh...

wishing you a happy and productive week ^_^

also, a huge huge thank you to Claire for organizing the fashion show, and making it perfect! and also to all the volunteers and models at Susfest!!

Our Debut at SFU Sustainability Festival!!

We are ready to show our first collection, and it's only fitting that it will be shown at the SFU Sustainability Festival's Eco-Fashion Show!! See below image for more information ^_^ (click on the image to enlarge)

new friends!!

at flora&fauna, we're always excited to make new friends! These 2 just happen to share our yard space, and we love them.


muffinhead (ok, his real name is toby)

super meltdown + shopping spree = ^_^

last Tuesday, my computer broke down. despite of tireless efforts from our wonderful in-house tech support person (thank you thank you thank you and also thanks to my emotional support person, and also my shopping companion), my little PC was done for good + forever.

so... i went on a shopping spree, and am poor but happy to announce that flora&fauna now runs on a MacBook! Wee! Luckily, i am able to retrieve all my important files from the PC's hard drives. I should be all set up again and 100% back in business by the end of today!

lots of catching up to do - write more later. and RIP f&f PC!! I'll miss you!!

p.s. dear reader, remember to always back up your files. do it now. seriously.

and into the new studio...

my new office ^_^

very sturdy and beautiful cedar post drafting table, custom made by Kyle Little!! LOVE IT!!

fan mail #1

[fan mail #1]:

Hi! How is it going? When will your website be ready? I keep checking but it's always under construction.

[f&f replies]:

It's going well! Thanks for asking ! We have some fabulous news to announce very soon!!

haha… of course the website will *always* be under construction. Primarily because I have nothing to put on it (I cannot release the photos from my Spring/Summer 09 collection until just a before the styles arrive in stores for sale (End of February 2009). Also, I am the only person that works here (the cats, all they do is meow and snuggle). Right now, I am really focused on finalizing my Xmas 08 designs which will be available exclusively at the Portobello West Holiday Market on Dec 13&14, and starting on my Fall 09 designs. As well, I have taken on a side project, working with the YACN group in Vancouver to design a hat.

A lot of my “design” time is spent on trend and market research and materials sourcing as well (and let me tell you, materials sourcing is the hardest part, as there isn’t many eco-fabrics available to small designers – and when all the small designers use the same fabrics, it … is not very good – though always interesting to see what each other created with the fabric, but our buyers will not carry multiple lines with the same fabric.).

A good chunk of my time lately has been spent on preparing my sales kit, and cold calling potential buyers. Since I have only been in Vancouver for a little over a year, there are many stores and neighbourhoods I am not familiar with. I do store visits to see if the stores share the same target market and ambience as my brand, and also see if my label will fit in with their current collection. If it feels like a good match, I will contact the buyer to see if there is any interest. This brings us back to the topic of the website – yes, there more to the current website (www.floraandfauna.ca), but it is currently hidden, because it is for buyers’ viewing purposes only. (If you are a buyer, and would like to view our Spring-Summer 2009 Lookbook – please contact me at pauline@floraandfauna.ca with a little bit of information about your store.)

The reason why this portion of the website cannot yet be released to the public is: a) to ensure the styles look new when they arrive in stores, and b) to avoid blatant plagiarism (as a small designer, there isn’t much else you can do to keep your designs and even graphic designs from being copied exactly-exactly. Large fashion corporations will be able to do this for much cheaper than you, and have it in stores earlier as well! – If you know some of the employers I had previously, you will know exactly what I mean, and how I feel about that.). Also on the topic of website design, I am reluctant to disclose that I am the sole designer of my website, with minimal experience in this area – so yeah, there definitely is a bit of a learning curve, but I love the challenge, and the sense of achievement when it finally “works”. YAY!!

More on the other roles of a entrepreneur in a post to follow… maybe. If I have time. ;p

pajammy-whammy wednesday

i can't even begin to describe how much i love working in my polar bear pj's. i've decided to declare every wednesday pajamma day here at the flora&fauna office! now if only i had a husky to snuggle...

a sneak peek

we've updated our website to give you the tiniest glimpse into our Spring-Summer 2009 collection. The rest remains top secret for the time being (unless if you buy/make me alot of sour apple martinies, then anything goes ;p) check it out here: www.floraandfauna.ca

quick update! + more good news!

we've been really swamped with our photoshoot this past weekend. everything went perfectly!! and i can't wait to share the beautiful photographs to everyone (coming soon!!)! many many thanks to the very talented and patient photographer, michael clifford, our lovely model who braved the cold for hours for the perfect shot, kimiko yoshida, amazing hairstylist hayley arlidge, very lovely make up artist savannah larsen, and our set assistant kyle little.

also, i have some very very VERY good news! We will be showing our Spring/Summer 2009 line at the Eco-fashion show during the annual Sustainability Festival!! details to follow... soon.

we're moving to east vancouver this weekend! weee!

portobello xmas!!

good news good news! i know it's a bit early to think about xmas, but i'm too excited to keep this to myself! - we have been accepted into the xmas portobello west show!! we are happy to be launching our 1st collection there, and will have unique pieces not available anywhere else ^_^

Come check us out and support your local artists! December 13&14, 12-6 @ Rocky Mountaineer Station.

meet pepper..!

meet pepper! our baby douglas squirrel who is being taken care of at Critter Care until he is mature and healthy enough to survive on his own. we love him very much, and look forward to his return to the wild. ^_^

b-cards for the b-girl!!

among many happy surprises today, i've received my business cards from green printer! They were so amazingly fast and easy to work with - and had the most environmentally friendly paper choices and vegetable based inks. also, the business cards came in a really cute box. these guys sure know how to make a gal feel special ^_^

we'rrrrre moving!!

we're moving out of the beautiful kitsilano neighbourhood of vancouver to the east end in august!! super excited to have a bit more space, and a sunny studio, and to join forces with photographer extraordinaire michael clifford!! pow poW POW!!

also super excited to become friends with the residence dog, Brooke! photos to follow shortly after we move in ^_^

soooooOOo happEE!!

we're on FACEBOOK!!

Yup, it's true. We made a facebook. Join our facebook group by clicking here!

kicking it in high gear... + a quick shout out

with all the buying and delivery dates set in stone by the industry, and my already late start for my Spring/Summer 2009 collection, i am really kicking it in high gear over the next little while.

right now, i'm working on:
- designing SS09 collection (making good progress)
- sourcing for sustainable fabrics
- looking for sample makers
- looking for local manufacturers who will take my small orders
- and also working on my action plan grids and 2 year cash flow projections for the BCIT program

i am really fortunate to have a few people who have helped me tremendously by giving me lots of support, encouragement, advice, industry info, and other very useful resources:
- BCIT Best program instructors and all of my wonderful classmates
- my business advisor at BCIT Ken Takeuchi
- my business mentor Megan @ Peel Designs, whom i have been a fan of since i first 'discovered' her beautiful pieces at Paper-Doll.com
- eco-fashions designer extraordinaire, and friend, and old university buddy Nicole Bridger
- the lovely Glencora at my favourite boutique on main street twigg&hottie
- my very very loving and supportive partner, who, after a long hard day of labour intensive green renovations and a long commute - still finds the time and energy to listen to my scatter-brained rambling, and critique my designs, and make us dinner. who is willing to tighten his belt to adjust to our new diminished income. and is an endless source of my amusement and laughter.

thanks. you guys rock.

in fact, i think it'd be very appropriate for the group of you to stand with this lonely sign at jericho beach for a photo for the flora and fauna blog...

studio tour...

a quick glimpse into the studio
... and further procrastination on doing something with the to-do "piles" on my desk.

wanted: office dog

flora&fauna is seeking an exceptionally loving dog to join our eco-fashion company.

reporting directly to the designer, the office dog is responsible for enrichment of office environment, and enforcement of daily fitness regimen. working closely with the flora&fauna cats team to ensure all office furniture will be gradually destroyed.

other key responsibilities and duties include:
• daily development of peepoo
• frequent hugs and kisses
• napping and snuggling with the flora&fauna cat team
• research and assistance during hikes and camping trips

• must be cute as a button on a kitten's cardigan
• must get along with cats, or is willing to learn
• strong knowledge and understanding of love
• no experience neccessary, we are willing to train candidate

why join?
as a member of the flora&fauna team, you will work in an environment that fosters personal development, health and fitness, and community involvement. We emphasize goal setting and self-improvement, we give progressive benefits (like treats from the dinner table!), and we have a lot of fun.

also, we already love you.

NOTE: Only those applicants under consideration will be contacted. Please accept our utmost appreciation for your interest.

Shopping for business cards...

-okay, okay... so i am officially feeling guilty about going with a less-than-totally-green web hosting service. watching the 11th hour last night only made me feel worse. T_T

with that said, i am going to be much less inclined to make compromises on everything else. i am starting to look at making some business cards. my criteria is simple:

- paper: 100% post consumer waste and/or tree-free paper
- inks: vegetable based non-toxic inks
- process: totally cholrine free
- packaging: paper banding (no shrink wrap)
- milage: printer must be within greater vancouver area (preferably accessible by foot/bus/skytrain)

i have found 2 interesting prospects via internet. prices seem reasonable enough. but... i am also thinking of doing a DIY batch of recycle paper and hand stamping/cutting the cards... anyone interested in a recycle paper party?

the pros and cons of DIY recycled paper method:

pros first:
- it meets all the above criteria
- business cards can be made as needed (no overstock or wastage)
- stamp can be used on other stuff (paper pattern, hang-tags...)
- fun!!

- lacks (conventional) professionalism
- design colour (ink stamp) limited
- paper colour/quality inconsistent from batch to batch

love to hear from anyone with experience with this process.

future home of the flora&fauna website

after spending too much time researching different web hosting services, i finally decided to go with netfirm. i DID find a few others who met the criteria in my below post.

as much as i really wanted to go with smaller providers (like solar energy host based out of salt spring island and is the first web host in canada to uses 100% solar power for their servers. or ethical host in toronto who uses wind power indirectly by green tags energy services.), i realized that i need the quality and reliability of a larger, proven provider... especially since i am planning on opening on online boutique. for a few days, i was juggling the risk factors and my desire to support the small potatoes of the web hosting world. since flora&fauna is a small potato as well (actually, more like a tiny sapling), i need the security and support of a stable, healthy environment, to ensure flora&fauna will be well rooted..

my decision concluded with netfirm (based in Toronto), after receiving numerous recommendations for them from my web designer friends, and other friends - one of whom brought netfirm's greening efforts to my attention.

i also learned a valuable lesson for my own product design. although many consumers are often willing to pay more for an eco-friendly and/or ethically made products - few are willing to compromise on quality.

and finally... future home of the flora&fauna website will be here: floraandfauna.ca
there's nothing on there yet, so don't bother checking. i'll let you know once any progress has been made on the website.

f&f wishlist...

there are a number of tools and luxury items i would like to acquire strictly for my business. this olympus (shock-proof, crush-proof, water-proof, freeze-proof digital camera with 10.1 megapixels and wide angle zoom lens) is definitely at the top of my wishlist...

it's hard to justify yet another expense... especially when i can see how the $400 (which i don't have) can go towards something much more crucial for my business.

i just can't stop daydreaming about tossing this little camera in my backpack during a hike or surfing, to capture all that little critters and textures i meet along the way...

shopping for web hosting...

i am putting together a website, which will evolve into the f&f online store - so... i have been doing some research to find the best match!

i have to admit, i know little-to-nothing about building website, and am not even too sure what i should be looking for... but... here's my checklist so far:

- sustainable, reliable power source (or at the very least carbon neutral)
- supports e-commerce
- super user friendly (preferably WYSIWYG)
- email with webmail access
- 24/7 technical support
- reasonably priced
- preferably BC-based or Canadian

next week marks the halfway point in my Business program at BCIT. i can't wait to get out of the classrooms and put my new set of skills to use!


the beginning...

the idea of flora&fauna has floated in my head for over a decade. At times it had a different name, or a different style, but it was always there. so i guess this first blog post doesn't mark the beginning of flora&fauna, but it does mark the beginning of my documentation of the start-up, growth, and challenges of what flora&fauna will become.

(and i am happy that you're here to read about it.)